• Switzerland's news in English
Swiss ‘unprepared’ for potential terror attack
Floral tributes at the scene of the attack in Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

Swiss ‘unprepared’ for potential terror attack

The Local · 18 Jul 2016, 09:00

Published: 18 Jul 2016 09:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Speaking to the Schweiz am Sonntag, Maudet, responsible for security in Geneva, said the police officer who is first on the scene must be able to neutralize a terrorist immediately, without having to wait for a specially trained unit to arrive.

“We saw that in Nice. Every police officer must be able to stop a crazed killer immediately. He has to open fire before something worse happens,” he said.

The cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais have already changed their operational policy to reflect this, “but that’s not enough,” he said, calling for a change to the "basic education" of police officers, Swiss-wide.

“We cannot afford to be unprepared”.

Fellow politicians agree that Switzerland must do more.

Speaking to the Tribune de Genève, Hughes Hiltpold of the liberal-radicals (FDP) said: “I have the impression that we are not ready. The police are the first on the scene. They must be able to react quickly.”

Roger Golay, of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) agreed.

“At the moment each canton does its own thing. We must have a national policy, a plan that can be put in place immediately.... If there was a wave of attacks today in Switzerland, the police would be completely overwhelmed”.

At least two Swiss died in the attack on Bastille Day when Tunisian truck driver Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a lorry through crowds gathered on Nice's Promenade des Anglais to watch fireworks, killing 84.

On Friday a 54-year-old woman from Ticino was confirmed killed by the Swiss authorities.

And over the weekend the canton of Vaud reported the death of a six-year-old girl from Yverdon-les-Bains.

Speaking to news agencies, a spokesman for the Vaud police said the young victim’s father and two other children – aged eight months and four – were hospitalized after the attack, but that the mother has not yet been identified.

In a statement, the city of Yverdon said it was “with great sadness” that it learnt the news of the death of the young girl, who was of Brazilian origin.

“The town and the communal authorities offer their support and sincere condolences to the family and those close to the victim.”

The authorities said children at the school attended by the girl would be given support as the new school year begins in August.

Story continues below…

The canton of Vaud has established a hotline (0848 133 133) for those concerned by the attack and needing psychological support.

In a statement on Friday the federal government said it should not be ruled out that there could be other Swiss victims.

The federal police sent two liaison officers to nice to help the French authorities.

A helpline established by the Swiss defence department is open 24 hours a day on 0800 247 365 or 058 465 3333.

At the federal parliament in Bern and the Swiss embassy in Paris flags were put at half-mast after French President Francois Hollande declared three days of mourning on Saturday.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
File photo: The Local

The cow was at risk of drowning after falling into the private pool.

Uefa Champions League
Basel 'ready for battle' in Champions League clash
Basel training in Paris. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Swiss champions Basel fancy their chances of springing a surprise when they face Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Burst pipe causes major flood in Lausanne
The water flooded Place de la Riponne in Lausanne. File photo: Swiss Tourism/Christof Schuerpf

Water rushed down the streets after a pipe burst in the city centre.

Outcry after ‘neo-Nazi’ music festival held on Swiss soil
The village of Unterwasser was the tranquil location for the festival. Photo: Swiss Tourism

Should police have intervened?

Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Switzerland: what's not to miss? Photo: Christian Perret/Swiss Tourim

Former expats in Switzerland tell The Local what they miss about living here.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available